Internet Marketing Schools
Internet marketing is the fastest-growing marketing segment and is increasingly favored by businesses who like its immediacy and actionability, trackable results, and relatively low cost. With banner ads, use of advertorial, or sophisticated ad campaigns, Internet marketing allows the marketer great flexibility for planning, executing, and measuring the effects of a campaign.
While Internet marketing mirrors off-line marketing in many ways, Internet marketing requires unique approaches for its exceptional environment. Whether through search engine keyword targeting or geo targeting, Internet marketing is much easier to scale than traditional marketing methods and is at once accessible to and a current tool of choice for small and large businesses alike.
Instead of marketing's traditional tendency to focus on mass appeal in order to win over consumers (a reality that has favored large retailers and brands in the past), Internet marketing makes good use of the current technological tools available to focus on the specific and the individual. This allows businesses of all sizes to slice and dice the market and cast their net as small or as wide as their products, services, target market, budget, and marketing goals allow.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing refers to the act of using social networking sites, online communities, wikis, blogs, and other collaborative sites to market your business. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, and My Space are prime examples of this. The popularity of these sites is testament to the power that they hold. Social media marketing has literally changed the face of marketing by placing relationships at the forefront of all successful businesses. It has also become a branding tool for businesses, and created an extremely effective avenue for viral marketing campaigns.
Relationship marketing emphasizes the customer's satisfaction rather than simply focusing on the point of sale transaction. This has become extremely important with the popularity of social media. The Internet has forced businesses to change how they operate. It has given consumers more power in the sales transaction, and more ability to research and respond to businesses through social media.
This shift has made it necessary for businesses to become more transparent. To stay viable, they have to focus more on customer service and the end experience of the users rather than just their bottom line. Bad reviews on social media, videos showing faulty products, tweets about horrible customer service experiences… all of these can hurt a company's image, as well as their profit margin.
Another seismic shift in the marketplace that has been caused by social media is the way that people choose who they do business with. While bad reviews and negative comments can hurt a company, so can staying hidden behind your business. People are interested in getting to know the face behind the company, as well as the values that shape the business, and their buying decisions are reflective of this. More people are starting to buy with their conscience, even in these tough economic times.
Consumers are also starting to associate the brand of the company with the information presented by businesses in the social media. This is why an arrogant post by an owner or employee, a refusal to show any personality or behind the scenes information, and especially a refusal to give several different ways to communicate with a business, can all cause today's consumer to be very wary of dealing with a company.
Probably the biggest reason that social media marketing has become so powerful, and why savvy businesses have embraced it so fully, is the viral aspect of these sites. Have you ever heard of a video on You Tube that has suddenly become an overnight hit, or a comment on Twitter that set off a firestorm of controversy?
Once something is on a social media site, the ability for it to get picked up and passed around to millions of other users is instantaneous. For this reason, when used properly, these sites can generate enormous profit for a company, for very little expense. For instance, Dell Computer has stated that it made 3 million from its Twitter posts, 1 million in the past 6 months. Small companies are also reaping the rewards. One of the truly remarkable things about social media marketing is that it has leveled the playing field and given anyone the ability to market a business effectively, with very little budget or manpower.
The power and influence of social media marketing is only expected to get stronger. With the increase in wireless services like the Blackberry and iPhone, people are spending more time at social media sites and looking to develop relationships with their business contacts. They are also focusing more on the quality of the people associated with the company, rather than just the quality of the product or service. Businesses hoping to compete in this new Web 2.0 reality not only need to be aware of the power of these sites, they need to fully embrace them and make them an integral part of their marketing campaign.